The Hero Complex countdown to the July 15 release of “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” continues today with Denise Martin’s interview:
Bonnie Wright was just 9 years old when she was cast as the Ginny Weasley, the youngest of the ginger-haired Weasley siblings with a curious and admiring eye for Harry. It’s been 10 years since then, and while Wright is about to embark on filming the final two-parter, “Deathly Hallows,” her on-screen counterpart Ginny has taken some bold steps of her own into the worlds of dating and Quidditch.
In “The Half-Blood Prince,” Ginny is being romanced by Dean Thomas (among others) while keeping a candle lit for Harry. She is also impressing her peers as Gryffindor’s newly minted Chaser, and later star Seeker. When Hero Complex caught up with Wright, she was on the verge of some major transformations of her own, finishing the last of her pre-university exams and beginning to ponder her post-Potter life.
DM: Do you remember how you felt when you read “The Half-Blood Prince”?
BW: I wasn’t fully expecting what happened. Ginny had grown up so much in the sixth book, and what happens between her and Harry? I just couldn’t have imagined that would happen. She started out so shy and young, and in this book she’s gotten so much more confident and noticed. She finds herself and it’s the first time you realize why she becomes the person who ends up with Harry.
DM: The book came out in 2005. You were just 15 – did you feel apprehensive, knowing that you’d soon be playing Harry’s love interest?
BW: It was weird. Just reading what happens to her, but then after I’d really thought about everything I thought, ‘Oh God, we’re going to have to film all of those things.’ That was quite nerve-wracking. But you always know the way they write the script very much captures the mood of what’s happening in a good way. In a comfortable way.
DM: In the book, Harry and Ginny spontaneously kiss while celebrating a Quidditch match. Does that match how it plays out in the movie?
BW: It’s actually different in the film. Their relationship sort of slowly builds and there’s this tension between them. Just when you think the kiss is going to happen, it doesn’t. It’s really a sweet tale of how they’re slowly getting drawn to one another. Obviously, it’s very difficult for Harry with Ginny being his best friend’s younger sister. But the kiss itself happens in a much more intimate environment. It’s just the two of them rather than in the midst of the Gryffindor common room celebrating Quidditch. It’s a bit quieter in the film.
DM: Why the change?
BW: I think David really wanted a different kind of moment in the film. There’s lots of humor and dark moments this time, and I think he wanted the story of Ginny and Harry to weave between all of that to break it up a bit. He wanted their story and its atmosphere to stand out. He wanted it to be much quieter. People are eager for it too, when it finally comes.
DM: [Spoiler alert!] Can you set up the scene?
BW: At this point in the film, Harry has become really taken over by this Half Blood Prince book and obviously Ginny can relate to that, having that happen to her in the second film [with Tom Riddle’s diary.] So she really notices what’s happening with him and how powerful and seductive this book can become. So they decide to hide it together, and the kiss happens when they’re going to hide the book.
DM: How was working with Daniel Radcliffe leading up to the scene?
BW: We talked about it a lot — me, Dan and David Yates — and we had a few rehearsals about how we wanted each of these moments leading up to the kiss between Ginny and Harry to work. Harry’s got a very different relationship with her in this film than he’s had with her in the past. Then she was like a younger sister. So it was important that Dan and I could work out what the relationship meant together. He was great about it.
DM: How does Ron work himself into their relationship?
BW: There are a few awkward moments. He and Ginny don’t really have the courage to get it in words. There’s a really funny scene during Christmas at the Weasley house and there’s this part where I’m talking to Harry and Ron interrupts, and quite purposely separates us physically. It’s a really funny moment in the film.
DM: Tell me about the Quidditch.
BW: There’s a lot of Quidditch in this film and I think you see a lot of Ginny’s confidence come through, that as well as an undercurrent of her competitive, even overconfident self.
DM: What about the filming? Fun or painful?
BW: I’d heard a lot of stories. Some had said, ‘Oh, it’s the most horrible thing,’ and others said it was really fun. I thought it was quite scary. I’m not afraid of heights but they manage to get you quite high on these complex hydraulic broomstick systems. It’s mad! You actually have to do quite a lot of the action yourself, being jerked around and spun around. It’s not all done by computer. It was also quite difficult when you’re pretending to play a complex game which you’re meant to be flying at so many hundred speeds an hour and really you’re on a studio set on a broomstick with blue screen around you. It can be hard to sort of connect.
DM: How did the finished product look?
BW: The way they put it together looks amazing. It moves so quickly, it looks almost impossible. I mean, it almost seems like it wasn’t us doing it because I know I wasn’t doing it that slickly.
DM: Has it hit you yet that the films are coming to an end?
BW: Yeah, you really cherish being on set even more. I’ve got a while yet. It probably won’t really hit me until the last few months of filming. It’s been so long for us all but I think it will be sad when we finish. I had a similar experience reading the last book. I was quite sad. I’ll miss being on set with all the people, and that energy. It’s such a big crew and big cast, so many characters. The energy is just amazing on set. And we’ve all gotten to work with so many of the greats. In terms of British film, you’ve probably got half of the great actors and cameramen and crew. Everyone is the top of their field on the film. “Sorcerer’s Stone” was the first film I ever did, so I definitely jumped in on the deep end.
DM: Have you made post-Potter plans?
BW: I still want to continue acting. I start going to university in September and I’m studying film and television and acting. So, not just acting, but also directing and producing and how it all complements each other in the industry. I want to study the big picture.
— Denise Martin
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Photo credit: Warner Bros.